Game 61 (Bulls 110, Warriors 88): The Alamo has been forgotten
By Geoff Lepper
In 60 games prior to the Warriors’ 110-88 defeat in Chicago on Wednesday, only once did they have a worse ratio of assists to field goals than the 13 assists they had against the Bulls while scoring 36 buckets – a mark of 36.1 percent.
The rock-bottom game? That was the infamous 123-88 blowout in San Antonio on Dec. 6, the 11-assist, 31-FG catastrophe that prompted Don Nelson to institute the European-style ball-movement offense which brought Marco Belinelli and Anthony Morrow to prominence in December.
That was the style that made the Warriors watchable again after an opening month that devolved into little else but Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette going one-on-one … or two … or three – and having the predictable lack of success.
So why did the Warriors fall into that same mode Wednesday, with the ball stagnating – as pointed out in the comments on the live game entry, Jackson (8-20), Maggette (5-16) and Jamal Crawford (4-15) combined to shoot 17-for-51 – and the offense collapsing faster than the Dow Jones Industrials?
It can’t all be fatigue. Yes, the Warriors were finishing up a back-to-back, but the Bulls also played Tuesday, and unlike Golden State’s laugher in Minny (where nobody played more than 29 minutes, and even then, the minutes weren’t all that taxing for much of the time), Chicago went only seven deep (Anthony Roberson and Aaron Gray each got four minutes of garbage time) in failing to win at Charlotte.
It can’t all be homecourt advantage. The Bulls were 17-11 at home coming into Wednesday, putting them 15th in the league, with a 60.7 winning percentage that was barely more than a point above the league average (59.6).
It can’t all be the absence of Kelenna Azubuike. While I think that Azubuike has been a key part of why small ball began to work more (along with a slate of home games against sub-.500 opposition and teams finishing back-to-backs), he wasn’t going to make or break this game, IMHO.
Jackson attributed it to Chicago’s double-teaming of him, which is interesting because, as you’ll recall, that’s another one of the reasons Nelson started the whole ball-movement kick.
Also, while the Bulls were doubling Jackson when he was in the post, it was single coverage when he jacked up a 2-on-5 transition 3-pointer (3, 6:56). And Kirk Hinrich was all alone when he got into Jackson’s grill and forced a tired, defeated, fadeaway 17-footer (3, 0:43.0).
This was one of those situations that brings into relief the limitations of having Jackson as your leading initiator/playmaker. Jackson doesn’t beat guys off the dribble in a head-to-head battle, but he’s very adept at finding guys who move to open spaces. That can happen on the S/R (hence, all those Andris Biedrins dunks), or when he gets doubled.
The problem Wednesday was that when the Warriors were playing what passes for a “big” lineup with this roster – Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf at the 4/5 spots, Jackson and Maggette at the 2/3 – Jackson repeatedly succeeded at posting up Heinrich and Ben Gordon and drawing Brad Miller or Joakim Noah (or both) on the double.
But there was zero movement to vacant spaces on the floor by teammates for Jackson to find. Without that, Jackson had no options.
It didn’t help that the Bulls, locked deep in the 15-team cage match that is the Eastern Conference, were clearly more motivated than their West Coast counterparts. When Gordon, hardly a spectacular defender over the course of his career, forces a missed 3 by Anthony Morrow with a strong close out, then reverses course and blocks Morrow’s 16-foot putback attempt … well, only a similarly superlative effort is going to be effective against that.
And when you’re limping home on pace for 28 wins, that’s hard to come by.
5 Responses to “Game 61 (Bulls 110, Warriors 88): The Alamo has been forgotten”
Anytime Anthony Roberson’s getting some run, you know it’s either a laugher or a D-league game…
What? You mean we’re not a good team? Ridiculous.
commish March 6th, 2009 at 12:41 pm
Dude, why would any coach in this league not be fearful of being fired if they let this kind of debacle happen? Oh, that’s right, Nelson has two more years and $12M and not a care in the world about how the teams plays on the road. As long as there are fans in the seats at the Oracle, Cohan and Rowell are happy and Nellie can (and does) whatever he wants..
justafan March 6th, 2009 at 2:39 pm
Boycott the Warriors until Chris Cohan sells the team
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TagsAcie Law Al Harrington Allen Iverson Andris Biedrins Anthony Morrow Anthony Randolph Baron Davis Brandan Wright C.J. Watson Chris Cohan Chris Hunter Chris Mullin Corey Maggette Dan Dickau DeMarcus Nelson Devean George Don Nelson Gilbert Arenas Jamal Crawford Jason Richardson Jeff Fried Jermareo Davidson Keith Smart Kelenna Azubuike Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant Larry Riley Marco Belinelli Marcus Williams Matt Barnes Mickael Pietrus Mikki Moore Monta Ellis Patrick O'Bryant Richard Hendrix Robert Rowell Rob Kurz Ronny Turiaf Stephen Curry Stephen Jackson Stephon Marbury Steve Nash Troy Murphy Vladimir Radmanovic
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